Free Things to Do in Boston This Weekend

All the best free things to do, events, and more around Boston this weekend.

Ericka Beckman, You the Better, 1983/2015 / Installation view: Less than One at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2016. / Image courtesy the artist and Walker Art Center / Photo by Gene Pittman


Memorial Day Flag Garden on Boston Common

In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, volunteers from the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund will plant 37,000 miniature American flags to honor U.S. soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the present day. The display goes up on Wednesday and will grace the Boston Common lawn until Monday under the watchful eye of community volunteers. Catch the 10th year of this breathtaking display while it’s up, or volunteer to lend a hand.

Dusk to Dawn, Boston Common, Soldiers and Sailors Monument near Charles St. & Beacon St.


Ruth LaGue: Landscapes

Under the sponsorship of the Boston Cultural Council and Uforge art gallery, a committee of Boston Public Library staff and community members selected Needham painter Ruth LaGue as the Jamaica Plain Library’s spring exhibition artist. Growing up in Alaska and traveling to India inspired LaGue’s lifelong fascination with landscape art. Using palette knives to combine color, pattern and texture, LaGue’s abstract landscapes invoke subtle memories in viewers, inviting them to be a part of something larger than themselves.

9 a.m.-5 p.m., Jamaica Plain Branch Library, 30 South St., Jamaica Plain.

Seed Ball Making Workshop

Roll your own spring seed ball at…the public library? Yes, you read that right. Materials will be provided, but get ready to get your hands dirty using the library’s own seed ball recipe—designed to help seeds flourish even in poor soil conditions. Bring a little more color into Boston by planting your very own urban garden when you get home.

11 a.m.-12 p.m., South Boston Public Library, 646 East Broadway, South Boston.

Ruth LaGue’s Migration, 36″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas / Photo courtesy of Ruth LaGue

Walking Tour of Stony Brook

In the 1970s, community activists came together to preserve the Stony Brook Southwest Corridor Park in the face of expansion plans for the Southwest Expressway. This industrial neighborhood in the center of Boston fronts points of interest like Boston Beer Company, as well as 19th-century tanneries and the homes of early German immigrants. Meet your volunteer guide by the T for an hour-long tour of this community-preserved historical neighborhood.

11 a.m.-12 p.m., Stony Brook T Stop, 100 Boylston St., Boston.

Ericka Beckman: Double Reverse

Over the past 40 years, visual artist and MassArt professor Ericka Beckman has created moving-image works that utilize childlike imagery, props and bright colors to address larger topics of gender, power, role-playing and control. Her newest exhibit, Double Reverse, features four films created from 1983 to 2016 that tackle themes like capitalist structures and gendered labor conditions. Beckman’s artwork has featured in galleries around the world, and in notable public museum collections at the MoMa, Met and others.

12 p.m.-6 p.m., MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Bldg. E15, Atrium Level, Cambridge.

Inner City Circle: An Intergenerational Show of Boston Artists Opening Reception

Amber Torres and Althea “Daughter of Contrast” Bennett, hosts of the Hoodgrown Aesthetic podcast, teamed up with the Dorchester Art Project and AfroCaribbean Museum gallery manager Mfalme Kenyatta to give underrepresented, young artists a platform to tell their stories. Though they often work in the same neighborhoods, established Boston artists and their emerging counterparts—from neighborhoods like Dorchester and Roxbury—rarely intersect. The show’s organizers seek to create a space for diverse artists to collide, including digital illustrator Rocky Cotard, street artist and UpTruck creator Cedric Douglas, WBUR producer Arielle Gray and photographer Jourdan Christopher.

6 p.m.-9 p.m., The Strand Theater Gallery, 543 Columbia Rd., Boston.

Photo courtesy of Nora Tirrell

Nora Tirrell

On Saturday evening, head to the cafe space in the historic Armory building for an evening of free, live music. Marblehead-native and recent Berklee College of Music graduate Nora Tirrell combines captivating vocals with indie and folk influence in her original compositions on the piano and guitar. She cites some of her greatest musical influences as Sara Bareilles, Carole King and Ben Rector.

7 p.m.-10 p.m., Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville.

Ubu Roar

This one-night-only performance at Suffolk University’s Modern Theatre is part of an all-new alumni theater initiative known as Juvenilia. Ubu Roar, adapted by playwright Brenda Withers from Alfred Jerry’s King Ubu, is a “cross between a punk set, Guy Fawkes Day, and church,” notes director Wesley Savick. The original 1896 performance was so offensive it incited riots, so get ready to leave your moral compass at the door.

8 p.m., Modern Theatre, 525 Washington St., Boston.


Nixes Mate Poetry Reading/Book Launch

Also known as Nixes Island, Nixes Mate is a small island just five nautical miles off the coast of the city, part of the chain of Boston Harbor Islands. Due to its small size, this rock in the ocean poses a navigational hazard to boats on the coast, even resulting in an injury-free 2012 ferry crash. Named after this notable navigational marker, the Nixes Mate digital magazine features curated, artisanal literature from authors who work in the “time-honored way: one line at a time.”

7 p.m., Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury St., Boston.